Middlesbrough town hall is set to host two folk and country artists on Thursday and Friday of this week. Opening proceedings is Canadian fiddle-player Teilhard Frost on Thursday with Texan folk musician Sam Baker to follow on Friday, January 31st. These shows follow on the back of The Courtroom Sessions in the town which proved to be a big hit with music fans last year – and both of the upcoming shows will take place in the venue’s intimate performance space.
Hailing from Ontario, Canada, Teilhard Frost captures the traditions of the Appalachian Mountains with his virtuosic fiddle playing, atmospheric vocals and mysterious lyrical themes. With his latest album, As The Crow Flies, Frost also draws on traditional influences from this side of the Atlantic, injecting elements of ancient Scandinavian and northern Scottish modal tunings to his original compositions.
Commenting on his forthcoming concert at Middlesbrough Town Hall, Frost said: “The songs from my most recent album have a deep connection with the British Isles so I’m excited to perform them here for the first time. The tradition of folk music is so rich in the UK so it’s always a pleasure performing here to an audience who have a real appreciation and interest in the music.”
Perhaps better known to readers of AUK will be Sam Baker, performing at the town hall on Friday. This follows his performances at the AmericanaFest showcase in London on Tuesday and Celtic Connections in Glasgow on Wednesday.
Sam Baker has made a name for himself for his powerful live performances. The characters in his songs face challenges as diverse as alcoholism, car wrecks, racism and drug addiction – but they persevere.
Baker’s journey to becoming an acclaimed singer-songwriter began with his loss of hearing. In 1986, Baker was travelling on a bus to Machu Picchu in Peru when a bomb in the luggage rack above his head was detonated, killing seven passengers including the three people he was sat with. Miraculously, he survived, however the injuries he sustained resulted in complete hearing loss in his right ear and partial loss in his left, along with a permanent case of tinnitus. Baker also suffered injuries to his left hand, making it impossible to play a standard guitar.
Over time, he learned to hold the guitar with his right hand and battled his loss of hearing. Although he wrote songs before the horrific incident, it was only after this experience that he committed himself fully to telling stories through music. He uses his upside-down guitar to write songs for everyday people who survive life’s daily challenges along with songs about his own life growing up on the Texan prairie.
Of his last record AUK said: “Coming 15 years after his debut album, ‘Mercy’, Sam Baker has released his first live album and ‘Horses and Stars’ is a corker of a record that captures everything that is great about his live performances. Recorded at the Imagine Event Center in Buffalo, NY in July 2018, Baker, in his own inimitable semi-spoken style, weaves his way through a selection of songs that paint evocative pictures of abandonment, alcohol, drug addiction, car wrecks and (especially topical in these days) illegal migrant border crossings from Mexico into the US…Those familiar with Sam Baker’s work will recognise many of the songs from his back catalogue and for those just discovering him for the first time, ‘Horses and Stars’ will act as a great introduction to this talented storyteller.”